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I have a main router and I would like to extend my home internet to other rooms without using range extender or anything else that is not wired. If for example I have a total of 3 routers, 'A' is the main router which has the internet from the ISP, 'B' is the router connected to router 'A' via LAN cable, and router 'C' which is connected to router 'B' via LAN cable again. My question is, will connecting routers like this via LAN cable put a load on the main router and thus dropping the connection and affecting all the 3 routers? I mean when wireless devices are connected to the main routers, will other routers have the load as well?

  • Have you done any statistics collection? A log of when it happens and who is download or streaming what at the time? To see if there are any day/time or destination correlations. – cybernard Jul 21 '17 at 13:53
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You didn't specify exactly how you would be daisy-chaining these routers. I'm assuming you are going to take Router A's LAN port and connect to Router B's WAN port. Then connect Router B's LAN port to Router C's WAN port. Or, some variation of this.

This is a bad idea. But you are asking the wrong questions.

To answer your question, no, it will not place any significant load on the routers. They are still capable of handling the maximum rated bandwidth, regardless of what is generating that bandwidth.

However, there are multiple reasons why extending your wireless network should not be done this way.

First, the reasons why you should NOT do it this way:

  • You are creating multiple NATted networks on each router. Devices connected to one wireless network/router will not be able to communicate with devices connected to another wireless network/router. Have any printer or file sharing going on? Kiss it goodbye.
  • For the same reasons above, you cannot properly roam on this wireless network, even if you create all 3 wireless networks with the same name. Because your IP address will change each time you connect to a different router.
  • You are doing double and triple NAT. This DOES cause delays on internet access. And can cause routing and other weird issues. It also makes it really, really hard to configure port forwarding or uPNP to allow devices on your network to be reached from the internet. Ever connected a wireless camera or something like that to the internet? Yeah, you got it, it might not work.

Now, you still have two options and one of them still involves using the 3 routers.

Option 1: (Use existing 3 routers if you have them)

  • Before hooking up Router B or Router C to your network. Plug in a computer directly to one of the LAN ports so you can re-configure it before hooking it to the network.
  • Change the LAN IP address of Router B and Router C to be on the same network as Router A. i.e. If Router A is at 192.168.1.1 then you would want to set Router B and Router C to something like 192.168.1.250 and 192.168.1.251. I use .250 and .251, because you also need to make sure you avoid the DHCP scope of Router A. You can confirm this by checking or modifying the settings of Router A - but using a high IP range reduces this risk.
  • Disable DHCP on Router B and Router C.
  • If the routers are the same or very close in model, configure Router B and Router C to have the exact same Wireless network name and encryption settings. Otherwise, I would recommend just using 3 different, but similar wireless network names to avoid problems. If you use different wireless network names, you are only doing partial roaming and your devices will have to be joined to each wireless network so that the settings are saved for each.
  • Configure Router A, Router B, and Router C wireless settings so that one is on Channel 1, one is on Channel 6, and one is on Channel 11. If you are also using a 5Ghz band, just make sure each is on a different channel. Disable any auto channel configuration.
  • Now you will plug a LAN port from Router A into a LAN port of Router B. You will then connect a LAN port from Router C to a LAN port of Router A or B. Or some combination of that. WAN ports on Router B and C will remain unplugged.
  • What you have effectively done is converted your routers into a wireless bridge. You have set each to be on the SAME network, and disabled the DHCP server on Router B and Router C so they don't conflict with the primary Router A. All Router B and Router C do is BRIDGE a wireless network back to your main network.

Option 2: (The recommended solution)

  • If you haven't purchased these routers, or don't mind spending a similar amount of money as routers would cost - USE A WIRELESS MESH SYSTEM.
  • I recommend http://www.open-mesh.com/
  • Open-Mesh is a cloud managed, super easy to setup and affordable wireless mesh network. It has also proven to be mostly very reliable.
  • To use these. Keep Router A and eliminate Router B and Router C.
  • Disable the wireless on Router A
  • Plug in 3 new Open-Mesh wireless access points in to LAN ports on Router A. If you need more LAN ports for other devices - purchase a basic gigabit ethernet switch. I recommend Netgear Prosafe units.
  • Simply create an account at Cloudtrax.com. Enter the MAC addresses of your 3 Open-Mesh APs and setup a new wireless network and security settings.
  • These units provide a seamless roaming experience and appear as one large wireless network for all your devices. It also has extra features, such as a guest network, walled garden, and even Paypal APIs to charge for internet access.
  • In addition, if you chose not to hard wire all these units for logistical reasons, they mesh together so that they extend your network without wires - but they actually work reliably, as opposed to the absolutely garbage, and utterly useless "wireless extenders" you would buy at the store. Keep in mind in mesh mode, your wireless bandwidth is cut in half each time you make a hop.

Hope that helps, because that was a lot of typing. :)

  • +1 If you hadn't posted it, I would have. The only thing I would add is state that by chaining them up as you suggest (and I would do that too) is disabling the router part entirely. In essence, the routers become switches with buildin Access Points. If the Access Points are not needed, it is a better choice to not use the routers at all, but place switches instead. Preferably one 8 or 16 port switch instead of 2 4 or 8 port switches. The switch will far better handle the traffic if its just one device, than it are 2. – LPChip Jul 21 '17 at 14:26
  • I agree that disabling the routing all together is the more "professional" way to do this. But, I'm considering that these are likely "cheap" home routers that usually don't have this option. By leaving the WAN port unused we have effectively turn the router into a switch and bridge by only connecting to one interface of the router. That's been good enough for me. – Appleoddity Jul 21 '17 at 14:36
  • Eh... Please reread what I've written. I mention that by not using the WAN port, you effectively only utilize the switch part. You then basically repeated what I wrote. :P My advice would be to buy a cheap switch in case the AP is not necessary. – LPChip Jul 21 '17 at 14:42
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Having 3 routers connected to one another should not be a problem. There could be a tiny amount of extra traffic, but nothing any router shouldn't be able to handle.

You can however, disconnect C and see if A and B work fine together. Also connect just A and C together for testing purposes.

It is possible you have a malfunction device or some other kind of defect. Bug in the hardware or firmware if the routers have any. Also the power supply for any of them could be failing. If the routers have independent firmware you should see if there are any updates.

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If everything is connected via LAN cables (I'm assuming nothing fancy for a home setup like link aggregation), then the routers will only see what they need to see due to the magic of switching. For example, if you send data between two machines connected to B, A will never see anything. If you send data between machines on B and C, then all three routers will see data. Something sent from A to the Internet will only be seen by A, etc.

The only likely issue you might have is with individual port speeds: if you had four machines (W, X, Y, Z) hooked up to A (I'm assuming 1 Gbps routers all around), then W could send 1 Gbps to X and Y could send 1 Gbps to Z. If W and Y are hooked up to router B while X and Z are on router A, then you will run into port speed limits: you will only see a total of 1 Gbps of transmission.

Otherwise, you shouldn't see any higher load on A than if all the devices were hooked up directly to it. That's not to say you won't see decreased performance, but it wouldn't be due to the addition of routers. More computers hooked up just means there's the potential for more data to be transmitted and you might run into packet routing limits of your router in connections going out to the Internet (# of packets per second your router can handle).

Also, be sure to use routers B and C as switches, not in router mode, or you may run into performance bottlenecks on B and C if you have a lot of LAN traffic.

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